Lovell Chen has completed the first conservation management plan (CMP) for the St Patrick’s Cathedral precinct — a ‘living heritage’ place that has been the epicentre of Catholic activities in Victoria since at least the 1860s.
The varied roles performed by the Catholic Church in Victoria are reflected in the significant activities undertaken at the precinct over time, as well as the prestigious building stock. This was the site of St Patrick’s College, the first Catholic grammar school in the state — and one of the earliest of all grammar schools in Victoria. The precinct was also the seat of the Archbishop (the Bishop’s Palace), and it remains home to St Patrick’s Cathedral, the ‘mother church’ of the Catholic faith. The complex of buildings was once compared to a medieval ‘holy town’.
The precinct has evolved since the 1840s to meet the needs of the Church and the congregation. The most recent phase of change, triggered by Vatican II, was delivered in the late-1960s and early-1970s, resulting in the diocesan offices and a presbytery, both designed by Roy Simpson of Yuncken Freeman.
As well as guiding the ongoing management and conservation of the precinct, the CMP was commissioned to identify opportunities for the precinct to evolve in a way that will avoid, or minimise, the potential for detrimental impact on its heritage values and attributes.
For historical images of the site, see the earlier news story